In a December 29, 2020, Field Assistance Bulletin, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) addressed whether telemedicine visits qualify employees for FMLA leave.
For a telemedicine visit to qualify for FMLA, it needs to meet the following criteria:
- an examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider;
- be permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities; and,
- generally, should be performed by video conference.
Finally, they state that communication methods that do not meet the above criteria (e.g., a simple telephone call, letter, email, or text message) are insufficient to satisfy the criteria of an in-person visit.
Any process to determine if a visit to a doctor is covered by FMLA, be it by telehealth or in person, should be consistent with FMLA regulations and the employer’s FMLA policies. Employers Council can help; please call us with questions.